Finance: Budget affects tax deductions

By Jeremy Tauri

Industry heads and other experts have been downplaying the impact to changes in this year's Budget that will affect owners of holiday homes, boats and private planes.

While those who own private planes may perhaps not be overly concerned with tax breaks, a lot of people who have baches they rent out a couple of nights a week are set to lose the ability to claim tax deductions.

This is a case where the less often you rent a holiday home out, the more you will be affected.

Previously, holiday home owners have been able to claim tax deductions of up to 90 per cent of the general losses they incurred in the running of those homes.

That's things like loan interest, maintenance costs, and so on.

Now, how much they can claim will depend on how often the property is rented.

It will be worked out as a formula: The number of rented nights divided by the total number of nights the property is used gives the proportion that can be claimed as a tax deduction.

That means if you own a holiday home, stay there yourself 30 days a year and rent it out for 30 nights, you will only be able to claim a 50 per cent deduction, not the 90 per cent you could have claimed previously.

Similarly you won't be able to say you run a loss-making business renting your boat out a couple of weekends a year if, in fact, most of the time your boat is used for your own fishing trips.

Real estate industry experts are saying the Budget changes won't affect coastal property prices because people think of the tax breaks as a benefit, not the reason for buying a property.

Reinz chief executive Helen O'Sullivan says it's not something that affects property owners enough to really make a difference.

She points out that those who run their holiday homes as true investment properties will probably not be affected because their properties will be rented enough that the tax deductions will still apply.

The only concern will be that they may need to structure their own use to avoid the busy periods when properties will be easier to rent.

While it may indeed be the case that true investors won't be affected and everyone else just sees tax deductions as a benefit, for those who arestill deliberating on the decision of whether to buy a bach, this may be the move that changes their minds against it.

Coastal property prices are still high, international travel is as cheap as ever, and the luxury of regular weekends away is out of touch of a lot of people's busy lifestyles.

If you own an investment property, a boat that you sometimes rent out, or even private plane, talk to your accountant about how the changes might affect you.

- Hamilton News

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